Just like that (cue snapping fingers and whooshing sound) the 2010 FUN show came and went. For me, FUN is always productive and this year was no exception. I had a very good show and instead of the usual tedious (and self-serving) show report, I’d rather share a few random observations about the convention. *I looked at oodles and oodles of coins at the show and what I didn’t see is, to me, every bit as interesting as what I did see. Two market areas that I participate in but found virtually impossible to buy in were early gold and Type One Liberty Head double eagles. I wanted to come back from the show with at least five pieces of early gold. I returned with none. Zero. Zilch. I saw some overgraded, dipped out coins that had been around the block. I looked at an interesting deal of early quarter eagles that was priced “enthusiastically.” But I saw virtually no fresh, interesting pieces of early gold. My take on this is that most of the nice examples that have been sold in the past few years are in strong hands and people just don’t want to sell right now; especially with prices being a bit flat in this area. Same with Type One double eagles. I saw about thirty 1857-S and 1861 but virtually none of the interesting dates. I think this is due to the fact that there are many collectors interested in these coins right now (especially the better dates priced below $10,000).
*Fairly expensive coins sold very well at the show, at least for me. In the new market reality I define “fairly expensive” as $10,000 and up. I came to the show with around 20 coins that fit into this category and sold every single one. If the coin was interesting or fresh or nice for the grade, there were ready and willing buyers.
*Unlike Long Beach or some other shows, FUN seems to bring out new faces. I sold coins to four or five collectors that I had never met before.
*I was a bit surprised that Thursday seemed quiet while Friday was a madhouse. Usually, at least at FUN shows, the opposite is true. For whatever reason, people appear to have come a day later than normal. Friday was one of the busier days at a coin show for me that I can recall with two, three and even four people continually at my table buying, selling and trading. It was one of those days when I say to myself “Self, I’m hungry” and then find out its 2:15.
*One of the highlights of the show was having Dale Friend take me on a personal tour of his fantastic collection of Bust half dollars which were on display at the PCGS table. Something that Dale did which I was impressed with was choosing a “look” for his coins then not deviating from this. In Dale’s case, he decided that he liked superbly toned coins; specifically pieces that had album-style color with lighter centers darkening towards the edges. What makes this set so remarkable is that even though it was assembled from many different sources, it looks like an old-time collection that had been stored in paper coin envelopes or albums for years and years. I’m told that these coins will be on display again at the Long Beach show and if you are attending, I urge you to view them (even if you don’t collect silver) and learn a few tricks from a master collector.
*I saw Lou Piniella at the coin show. For those of you who aren't baseball fans, Lou is manager of the Cubs and a former New York Yankees great. Being a huge Yankee fan, I personally thought it was pretty cool to see Lou at the show. Interestingly, I read an article a few months ago about Charlie Manuel, the manager of the Phillies and it stated that he, too, was a coin collector. Is there some sort of coin collector-major league manager connection going on here that we don't know about?